Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My First Novella: Thorn

My first novella - my 22nd publication.


Lanta is ten when the guards of Dura come to take her away from her family.

She wouldn’t have minded that much if it weren’t for the fact she was going as a sacrifice.
Something lives inside the Xion Stump with the red X on its door.
Everyone says it's a monster, but no one’s ever seen it.
Today, for Lanta, the mystery will be unraveled.

For the first time in her life, she'd rather not know.  

ONLY 99 cents!!!

To purchase:  https://www.amazon.com/Thorn-Michelle-Erickson-ebook/dp/B01HKGX2MO

Slap Jack: House of Cards Book 3 and about Typography

Original Cover
Updated Cover

      Here it is, my 21st book and 3rd I've co-written.  The problem with the third cover is education.
The  person that puts the title on the covers is a TYPOGRAPHER.  We made the decision to brand our series (a particular look in the title).  She did a great job.  It took some convincing, but we had her move the title to the top of this cover, though it isn't placed exactly where the other titles are. 

This is something to consider when you are designing your book - where do you want the title and your name?  With us, it is a gamble.  Most of the time, it is up at the top.  However, with House of Cards, so far there are two at the top and four at the bottom due to design.  We can do that with ours because we are independent authors (Indies).  Don't count on that happening with regular printing companies.  In fact, once the manuscript is sold, you have little to no say.



Sarah survived the first two weeks at the Tapestry!

Taps adopted her and she now has siblings that were also orphans.
She's becoming more confident using her magic.
Ransom is in love with her - she sees it in his eyes and feels it in his heart,
even if she's too young to do anything about it.

On the flip side:

Her bodyguard was murdered and it remains unsolved.
Taps is not only a cursed ghost, she and Sarah's brother are infected with a werewolf virus.
Sarah still isn't sure what Dee is, but glad she's nearly finished knitting her brain back together.

On the bright side of things, her friends are safe!

She thinks.
Hmm...is anyone safe in the magical world? Ever?

Shuffled: House of Cards Book 2

Here is my 20th novel and the second I've co-authored.


Sarah and her friends reached the Tapestry alive!
She’s not sure how long they’ll stay that way.

Life at the Tapestry isn’t as easy as Magicks think. 
Sal wants to run away, 
Sarah suspects Dee’s a lost mermaid.
School is life threatening.
Worst of all, her guardian is a ghost!
Oh, and the Lurker King is still on the hunt.

It’s been a tough first week.
But it has nothing on the second!

$2.99 to purchase:  https://www.amazon.com/Shuffled-Magic-Urban-Fantasy-Adventure-ebook/dp/B01A0AU7A2/

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My 19th Book! Huzzah!

What's different about this book compared to my others?  
It is my first Co-authored book.  
It has chapter heading illustrations
It's YA Urban Fantasy.
There are only three sequels planned.

Here's the link to purchase (currently $2.99):

Here's the back cover - with the Reader's Favorite 5 Star Review emblem.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Educating Book Cover Artists

As an indie author, I want my covers to match the story I wrote.  Thankfully, as an Indie, I get to choose that artist.  The downside is that I have to do the homework or find someone in-the-know, to hire a competent artist to bring my vision to life.  

Keep in mind as you hire an artist, that the relationship should remain on a professional level.  This means your exchanges should focus on the art.

I've been blessed to work with three different book cover artists so far.

I've found that successful cover artists for me are

1) able to take constructive criticism (such as, 'That's good, but I need the light to be brighter,' etc.).
2) send regular updates via email. (so you can add or subtract details as needed)
3) speak and write English because it is the only language I speak.  So, this last one depends on your language skills.
4) finish the cover in a reasonable amount of time. Two or three weeks - if it's a complicated cover, a month at the most.

As an indie author, concept sketches and updates are critical because you are your own business.
If you've explained/drawn a quick sketch, it should suffice to get the free-lance artist started.

In the end, you should be happy with the result.

REMEMBER You need to be professional as well.  Don't keep the artist tied up while you try to decide if you want the character to have eyes or not - that is also unprofessional.

Professionals always do the job they are hired to do whether they agree with it or not.  Yes, you should allow your artist to make suggestions, but, the boss (that's you) always has the last word.

Remember, the artist should not dictate terms once they verbally (or contractually) accept a commission.  It is unethical.  Suggestions are welcome, but the employer is under no obligation to take them.  In the real world, when you begin to tell your employer what you will or won't do, it will get you fired.  As an Indie author, you do not need an artist that is a Prima Donna.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Cover for Traps by artist Mates Laurentiu

The time had come to choose which of the old covers we wanted to replace first.  Traps won the 'contest' hands-down.

The one on the right is what we replaced - no words are really necessary to convey why we chose to replace it - and yes, others will be replaced as soon as the funds come in.

In the meantime, the cover is all that changed for COS 5.  I haven't modified and combed through the old manuscript at this time to correct any other errors that may exist. Hopefully, there aren't too many.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's Discuss: Soline

Her name(s):  Soline:  Keeper of the Waves, Sea Goddess, Sea Witch, "Sully" (though only one person dares to call her that).

Notable characteristics:  When she is out of the water, her living hair is blue.  When she is under the waves, it is dark brown.  Her eyes are supposed to be as green as apples and the irises float on the bottom of the eye like twin corks.  When she's angry or feeling strong emotion, they are stationary.

Tidbits you may not know:

In the original first-ever story draft, Soline and Ammon fought Revaya and Soline actually killed her.

My daughter came up with the idea of the Ancients.  She had written a story in high school about kick-butt female dragon riders and one of the characters in that story morphed into what years later became Soline.  She suggested I add the Ancients to the story line - the rest is history.

The picture on the left is the one I commissioned of Soline first - and is the 'older' Soline - a good thirteen millennia have passed between the one on the left and the one on the right.  The same artist did both.

Insane Water Mac?

I think losing her sanity was a close call.  There was every bit of a chance for her becoming as nutsy coo-coo ya-ya as Vael.  Those who have read the books know how she avoided total insanity.  Not that she didn't have moments after she left the Fortress....think flood.

I shuddered - often - as I wrote her. Curiously, I found her story so heart wrenching, I grew to respect her and understand her plight.  However, I still do not particularly like her.  In reality, I would steer clear of her like I would a ferocious rabid dog.


In a word?  Ever-changing.  She learned to tolerate her Sea Captain, automatically loved her children (but didn't know how to be a mother or grandmother).  There's also Jaydren, her first true love.  She even cares for a few people - Revaya and Ammon (though she'd never admit it).

Will she go back to Shara?

She has no intention of returning to Shara.  Ever.
Jaydren is determined to reclaim his father's estate - Stone's Fist and to right ancient wrongs. In the future book, Return to Shara, you'll have to ask yourself if Jaydren's unfathomable love is enough for their marriage to survive.


Music amplifies emotion - whether heaven...or hell.  It's why I'm pretty careful about what I listen to and when I find something 'perfect' or even almost perfect, I like to use it for the emotion it draws out of me.

I look for lyrics and/or tunes that suit the characters/scenes.  This one will be Soline's song for Jaydren in Return to Shara because of the lesson she learned are in the lyrics.

Taylor Swift "This Love" lyrics

Clear blue water, high tide came and brought you in
(J arrived at the Fortress)
And I could go on and on, on and on, and I will (She has been waiting millennia to escape)
Skies grew darker, currents swept you out again (when she lost him to another)
And you were just gone and gone, gone and gone
In silent screams, (she never let those in the fortress use her emotions against her)
In wildest dreams 
I never dreamed of this 
(though in the free land, Jaydren is always out of her reach)

This love is good, this love is bad
This love is alive back from the dead
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me

Tossing, turning, struggled through the night with someone new (Finn)
And I could go on and on, on and on
Lantern burning, flickered in my mind for only you (she never lost her love for Jaydren)
But you're still gone, gone, gone

Been losing grip,
Oh, sinking ships (the least of what she's done)
You showed up just in time (Jaydren returns to her life)

This love is good, this love is bad
This love is alive back from the dead
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me

This love left a permanent mark
This love is glowing in the dark
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me

This love, this love, this love, this love... [4x]

Your kiss, my cheek, I watched you leave 
Your smile, my ghost, I fell to my knees
When you're young you just run
But you come back to what you need (a truth she had to learn)

This love is good, this love is bad
This love is alive back from the dead
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me

This love left a permanent mark
This love is glowing in the dark
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me

This love, this love, this love, this love

Reviews: Take the best, leave the rest

Reviews are something authors and other artists have to live with.

With today's tech-savvy population, this gush of information (good and bad) is going to continue until we lose access to technology.  It could happen - apocalyptic-type scenarios are some of the best sellers.

Hey, I think it's smart to give reviews - good or bad.  I especially like the fact we educate/warn other consumers.  One of the things Amazon offers is for people to click on a button that claims your review has helped them.  I do this a lot when I want to buy something and someone has warned me about the defects whether mechanical or mental....smut or the fact a particular company always seems to have a problem counting to ten and only sends eight of a product.

On the other hand, there is something called 'trolling'  which means a person/persons with nothing better to do with their time finds something for sell that's doing well and gives a one star review - usually ranting about the negative aspects of a book/product they've never read/used. The reward for their behavior is to get a rise out of people and the attention that comes with it.

Don't feed their frenzy.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but trolls need to find a different hobby.

I write the best stories I can, but I don't expect every person on the planet to like them.  That would be unrealistic.  Some people will only read non-fiction.  Others only Sci-Fi or only books by LDS authors, etc.

I'm not perfect and my books are not perfect.  I write the stories I'd want to read and I do the best I can with the resources God has blessed me with.  Here's a fact you may not know.  At current editing rates, to get one of my (currently) 18 books professionally edited will take $1200+ that I don't have.  I've been spending the money I make on the same things regular people do:  bills.  Plus, I get the privilege of spending money on awesome covers - one of the biggest selling points of novels.  I seldom get reviews about my  typo-s or broken grammar rules, but every now and then someone better educated than I am, points things out. 

When someone finds a real problem with my work - I make changes (this does not apply to plot points or those who say please don't kill so-and-so, they are my favorite character).  I've made many changes over time - new covers, edits, corrections, etc.  If you read a lot, you will notice type-o's in traditionally published books, newspapers, and at school by teachers.

My advice:  Choose the higher road.  Use respect.  Always take the best of what you can learn in the reviews about your work and leave the trolls behind.  Seek improvement, yes, but don't beat yourself up over the fact you put the apostrophe in the wrong place.     

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lets Discuss: Ammon

Ammon is the star of the first book in the prequels, Five the Power Rising.

If I were to choose an actor today to play him, it would be Chris Hemsworth - only with auburn hair.

At the beginning of the book, Ammon is 27 thousand years old - young for Sharians.  In Shara, people have lived as long as a million years.

He is 8 feet tall - the tallest of his family.  If you've read the Chest of Souls main series, Tasut and Talon are some of his grandsons - which explains their great height, though neither achieved Ammon's full stature.

In this book, Ammon is the wayward son of the Master of Rozan Steading - and heir to the title. He is not known as the brightest apple in the bunch (he is one of 10 children Aaron and Sera had), but is known for following his 'gut' instinct and having a big heart - which is what is needed at Rozan Steading.

When you read of Shara, think of Australia as far as sheer size. Rozan Steading sits on the coast and stretches from north to south.  It's a lot of land to harvest and protect.  Their family home is grown, not built.

Good thing Ammon loves growing things.  He's in charge of enormous trees (think Redwoods/Sequoias) called Family Trees where the names of family are grown into the bark.

Unfortunately, he also enjoys brawling, which he was only too happy to teach to his siblings.  Frankly, he's good at it.

The people with 'talent' in this tale are called "Macshara" or "Macs" for short.  They are elemental (earth, wind, fire, water) and the main reason Ammon carries such a load of attitude.  If he had his way, he would eliminate them for what he perceives is insanity.

To add luster to the tale, Ammon's family has kept a secret about Ammon for millennia.  It is a gift from his golden-eyed mother and not a common one.  His father left out a few details before Ammon is forced to work at the Fortress in Brissa - like who their allies really are and what the enemy really wants and what they will do to get it.

You'll have to read the book to find out what those are.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Cover for First Prequel: 5 Power Rising

Artist:  Mates Laurentiu
Length:  450 pages
Ebook:  http://www.amazon.com/Five-Power-Rising-Fantasy-Prequel-ebook/dp/B00DB65U8W
I've wanted to get a new cover for this book for quite some time.  The first cover just didn't do Ammon justice.  Once I had the final of the prequels finished, I realized the original cover wasn't the same format and figured Ammon should have his mug on the front cover.

The animal on his shoulder is called a Shee - this one is Spar, the first ever made (and proud of it!).

Cost:  $2.99 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sequels to COS?

Fans asked (less than 24 hours after I released the final prequel to COS) if there will be more.

The short answer:  Stay Tuned.  

For a quick sum of what I'm doing go to the FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chest-of-Souls-Fantasy-Epic/270787772957868  If you want to follow, by all means, 'like' the page.  Go ahead and leave a comment.

For fans of the COS series, I plan to write the sequels in this sequence (Naturally, things could change):

1)  Sundara - Queen of the Ammonites
This is Wyn and Japh's story with all your favorite characters (who survived) from COS 1-9 AND the prequels.  Writing this book was a no-brainer.  I wanted to tie up the burning question:  What happened to the flaming blister known as Vael?  If you didn't know he was still alive, please re-read the series.

2) Sons of Thunder
Continuing where Sundara left off and setting up the rest of the books.  Two major characters are slated to die.

3) Return to Shara
The title is self-explanatory - the Ancients (minus Vael) will return to Shara to confront their past and take care of unfinished business.  

4) With Wings and Talon
This had to be written to fully explain harpies and how Revaya and Pax do among them.

5) Ties that Bind
The big wrap-up scene - probably.

6)  Someone suggested I write the pre-prequel about Utahna - sigh...I don't know if this should be done or not.

Yes, I have some of them planned and bits written down (about 67 pages of notes for the FIRST book), but try to be patient.  You never know what bits and pieces of other books may pop up and out, so as I mentioned above, Stay Tuned.

I am currently working on an urban fantasy with my oldest daughter called House of Cards.  To get a look at some of the characters and get a 'feel' for the series, go here:

The first book of HOC will be released (hopefully) next year (2015).   It is geared for YA and has been a real learning experience.  My family has always been involved in my books (since I eat/drink/sleep the worlds I create) but this has been the most fun I can have without being twins...and the hardest thing I've had to do.

There are four books planned, but the amount of information two of us can output is staggering, so it is likely to expand the way COS did.  Which means I will take at least a year off from writing COS.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Up in Flames - Final COS prequel (5)

My 18th book and the final prequel to COS Fantasy.  

 From the first time he saw her, Vael wanted Revaya.
For twenty thousand years, she’s refused him.
To add insult to injury, she married a human, though that can’t last forever.
He knows their elements, his fire and her air combined, would be unbeatable. 
Everyone knows it, except Veya.
He’s tired of waiting and is implementing a new plan.
He will eliminate her distractions.
He murdered her friend and Teris is in ruins.
According to Mayhem, the next step is to remove her will and enslave her.
The plan is going to work, unless…

*Amazon eBook price:  $2.99 *

Artist:  Mates Laurentiu.   http://mateslaurentiu.deviantart.com/

*Note from the author*

Originally, Up in Flames was the ending of Book 4.  
When Winds of Change started to edge closer to 400 pages, I knew I had to make a decision.  
It was a hard one to make because I didn’t want to write this as a separate book.
Why, you ask?
Simple answer:  I don’t like Vael.   
Never have, never will (Go Ammon!) 
Climbing into his head wasn't fun.
With that said, I do feel sorry for him (yeah, yeah, I know…doing a Veya here). 
Also, I was informed the story wasn't finished or fair (drat Jaydren and his 'fair' ideology!) 
At least, the story wasn't finished until the obsessed flicker was doused (Thanks for trying, Soline). 

So, you will have to  Stay Tuned  to hear the rest of the story.  
In case you  missed it, this is a big hint.

Note the constellation, 3 Sisters, in the background.
Though it's very subtle, there are also faces in the flames with a larger one off to the left.
To find out why, you can read the book.

**Here are two comic strips about the 5**  
The first you should probably wait to read until you finish Up in Flames or it might spoil some things for you.  
The second can be understood if you've at least read the first two books**

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Winds of Change - Prequel 4 to Chest of Souls and my 17th book

Artist:  Mates Laurentiu:  http://mateslaurentiu.deviantart.com/


Price:  $2.99

The lace of legend is becoming frayed and Revaya doesn't see it. 

For more than twenty thousand years, she has been the Lady of Ogdones. 

But a storm is brewing. 

Her best friend is being hunted by an assassin so fast even Veya has a hard time seeing her. 
Strange notes of warning are being left for her and the others, but who is writing them? 
Vael’s unwanted interest continues to be a thorn in her side. 

The Winds of Change are howling and no one is listening. 

The distractions keep piling up. 
Even among the Five, love is the most powerful distraction of all. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's Discuss Brenna Tybar

 Brenna Tybar is the only child of Lyon Tybar and Marianna Ryn.  She is the One - the person prophesied about for many millennia - back when the Five were ruling the free land.

Brenna is three when the main story opens.  This is how I imagine her to look...except with blue eyes.

To be fair, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it won't really matter who I choose to represent the 'most beautiful' woman in the world, someone will say - NOT!

So, I please myself by choosing someone that I think is very beautiful and still has softness to her eyes.

Brenna would have more highlights in her hair from being in the sun, but this is the young Brenna who at 13 decided she would die if Talon didn't notice her - so she made a few changes her parents didn't approve of, but Talon did.

Talon and Brenna are childhood chums.  He considers her to be a pain since he is ordered to protect her.  It isn't easy since things happen around Brenna that never happen to anyone else.

When she looks like this, he finds his childhood chum has morphed.

Fast-forward a few years.  Brenna has powered the Chest of Souls.  Still beautiful, yes, but cold, hence the look you see below.   

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Cover for Hallows Gate

In the mood for something I've written but you've read every book in the Chest of Souls series - twice?

Here's the new cover for my thirteenth book, Hallows Gate.  
Mates Laurentiu is the very talented (and diverse) artist for this cover.

Blurb:  New Years Eve changed Angelina's life
She got lost and fell in love a ghost.
Now she needs to save him by becoming his wife
If she succeeds, she frees him, but loses him forever.
Love is more complicated than she thought...
And that doesn't include the elves.

Price:  2.99 

To purchase:  http://www.amazon.com/Hallows-Gate-Michelle-Erickson-ebook/dp/B0078TEC8W

Update (as of 2016)  

I am writing a series about the Stoddard Sisters (if you read this book you'll know why) so this will become the first 'Stoddard Sisters' book.  The second I'm planning is Kissing Gate with Victory Gate to follow...and Bridal Gate after that...and so on until I've exhausted what my mind wants to do with them.  The final of the series, whenever that is, will be Heavens Gate.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tales from the Chest: Spinning the Wheel

Stera and Lety, Rube's stepsisters, are secondary characters and I didn't waste time explaining who trained them.  They played bit parts and though what they did was important, at the end, this scene didn't need to see the light of day - until today!  Enjoy:)

"They're still in bed."  Chal gave an evil grin.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Shanika asked, looking up at the ceiling where, above them, two unsuspecting girl's were still wrapped in sweet dreams.  That was about to change.

"Spin the wheel time!" Chal reached inside the silverware drawer.

The cook of the Ha-mah smiled indulgently.  "Don't forget to bring back my knifes!"

"Can I keep the cleaver?" Shanika asked, running her finger along the edge.  "My cook needs one."

"As long as you place an order with the blacksmith for another."

"Done!" Shanika put the cleaver in her apron pocket and followed Chal up the stairs.

The two lumps beneath the thin blankets weren't stirring, other than soft snores.

Shanika opened the window, gathered up the Stera, blanket and all, and dumped it outside, aiming (mostly) for the pile of laundry the girls were already supposed to be working on.

Chal followed her example.

The screaming got everyone's attention, but, as usual, one look at who had done it and they all went back to work.

"Do you think they broke something?" Shanika asked, looking a bit worried.

"Nah, it isn't that far.  The most that could happen is a sprain or two."

"Just so you know, Stera might have a concussion before the end of the day," Shanika said in a hard voice.  "And it won't be because I threw her out the window."

They made it outside just as the sisters scrambled out from under the pile of dirty laundry looking cross as two spoiled little brats could possibly be.

Chal walked up and shoved two fingers up Lety's nostrils and led her to a contraption known to the trainees as "the wheel."  She released Lety's nostrils and pointed at the wheel, which was lying on the ground.  "Lay down!"

Lety, with eyes streaming screamed, "NO!  You can't make me!  Mari said..."

Chal kicked the girl's feet out from under her and stepped on her neck.   "Shanika, they don't know how to fight!"

Her co-conspirator had Stera's arm up behind her back and was applying pressure, making the girl tiptoe over the ground at a fast pace until she stood in front of large planks.  "Get on."

The girl, after seeing that her sister was being strapped down, climbed onto the planks which had a series of pulleys, ropes, and chains that somehow were connected to the wheel.

"Listen to me, you Vael-brained wonders!" Shanika barked.  "You two were late getting out of bed, didn't help with morning dishes much less finished the wash.  So, you get no breakfast or lunch and you will  finish the wash as soon as you finish volunteering for eye-hand-coordination."

The girls looked at each other in question.

Chal clapped her hands together - four measured beats - and looked at Stera.  "Start walking to this rhythm.  If you stop your sister dies."

Stera's face bled of color and she began to walk in place while the planks moved up and down and she held onto two long poles that glided back and forth.

"You better go faster than that or your sister will never make a whole revolution and she'll suffocate," said Shanika with a disinterested tone.

"Got the knives ready!" Chal said with an eager grin.

The wheel which had been on the ground, was slowly rising as Stera tried to keep the beat that Chal had given her.  Her face was red with the effort and she was already sweating.

Shanika faced the wheel and Chal stood with her back to it.  "On four?"

"Yeah, and let's descend this time and then go on odds."

The women began to count... "Four...three...two..." a knife was thrown by the backwards-facing Chal.  It slammed into the wood near Lety's head.  The girl howled.

"Hey, Stera, you better keep the pace or your sister won't make another round."

Even as the women spoke, they were throwing knives back and forth, catching them by the handle, and changing places.  Other girls were now gathering around, no one saying a word, but all watching with keen interest.

"What are you looking at you freaks!" Stera yelled angrily, puffing as her sister, strapped to the wheel, screamed again as a knife missed her outstretched hand by inches.

A cleaver sprouted next to Stera's foot.   "Go FASTER!"  Shanika warned.  She turned to Chal, "I don't think weak-knees has the strength to make the wheel do one revolution.  Lety may suffocate."

"Let's see how much Stera loves her sister."

Both women, still throwing knives, watched as Stera strained, the blood vessels on the girl's forehead bulged and threatened to burst.

"I...I...CAN'T do it!" screamed Stera, falling to the ground and stretching one hand out toward the wheel as it sank toward the ground.  "NOOOOOOOO!"

Chal calmly looked at the group of girls.  "Volunteers?  No, not you Pidey, you broke your wrist yesterday. Mari wants you to wait a day...anyone else?'

The wheel had come to halt - upside down.  Lety's screams were faint, but definitely audible.

"LETY!"  screamed Stera, jumping off the non-moving planks and rushing to the wheel, trying to lift it.

"It's too heavy, silly," said the injured Pidey with a sniff.

"No one wants to help?" Chal asked.

"Will we get into trouble?"

"Who said that?" asked Shanika, looking disappointed.

All heads turned to a small brunette with a club foot.  All the girls backed away, leaving space around the girl.

Chal smiled.  "Not if you can take this knife away."  She displayed the weapon.

Before she could blink, the girl disappeared and reappeared - with the knife.

"Well done sister mine!"  Shanika crowed and she gave Chal a wink.

Shanika's sister worked the planks and Lety, covered with sweat reappeared - unconscious, but still breathing.  Stera, sobbing, pulled away the straps and then pulled her sister off the wheel.

Chal turned to Shanika with a smile.  "Mari is absolutely right."

"She always is," Chal agreed.  "But about what this time?"

Shanika retrieved her cleaver from the plank.  "This is no such thing as a permanently unmotivated person!"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tales from the Chest: Training Mari

I didn't have time to do a flash-back of Mari being personally trained by the Forest Wife.  In keeping with my idea to have Brenna and Talon in the center of the story, I needed to move on.  In any case, there was no need to really show where Brenna got a healthy helping of her stubbornness from.  

The seventy-five pound book landed on the large table, creating a small puff of dust as it did so.

In surprise, Mari waved away the dust which threatened to choke her and looked up at the blonde woman who was not quite her mentor and not quite a friend, yet.


Mari was not accustomed to taking orders and there was no mistaking that this was an order.  "Do you want me to read or practice?  I can't do both at the same time."  Mari couldn't quite keep the frustration out of her voice.

"I believe, in the end, you'll be surprised what you can do."

Mari, feeling fractious over this newest chore, sniped, "Oh, good, a new cryptic way of saying you know more than I do.  That might change if you'd just let me keep practicing!"

The pair of blue eyes fixed on Mari did not waver in their silent reprimand.

"Just let me practice!"

The Forest Wife shook her head. "Do you really think that this time and place were made just for you, Mari?"

The truth was yes.  She'd been under the impression that the place was there to give her a place to practice.

"Did you ever read the Book of Benamii as I asked?"

"Yeeees..." she answered, but didn't meet her teacher's eyes.

"So you read about yourself.  What did you think?"

At the moment, she couldn't.  She was too busy wrapping her mind around the idea she was mentioned.  As her mind raced, she shook her head.  "The book didn't say anything about me."  She was absolutely sure she would have noticed her own name.

"Then you didn't study it."

"It's boring..."

"So boring you want your ignorance to kill your husband and daughter?"

Mari blinked and then snapped her mouth closed.

"Study doesn't mean to skim over the parts you find uninteresting.  The Prophet Benamii wasn't trying to be cryptic, Mari.  he gave his life so we could have the truth."

"He's dead?!"  She hadn't heard...or she hadn't paid attention if she had.

"Nez gifted the bloodthirsty Sogoians with a public execution." This was said in such a tone she knew it was the truth.

Mari willed away her sorrow.  Last time she'd seen the old man, he was standing at the gates of Ryn House, announcing her time had come for training.  In part, that memory had served to press her onward.  "I still need the practice."

The Forest Wife took a seat; something she never did unless the subject was serious.  "Look at me, Mari."

She did.

"You are stunningly beautiful and impressively powerful, but your ignorance has reached near-epic proportions."

She scowled, failing to appreciate being called stupid.  It also tweaked her curiosity, as, no doubt, the Forest Wife intended.

"The mistakes you make here and now, on this side of time, will have severe repercussions."

"I thought you said what I did here wouldn't affect there."

"I sometimes wonder if you listen at all."

That cowed her.

"I'm not talking about whether the waterfall you forced to fall up makes a dent in the world you return to.  I'm speaking of something so much more.  Something that is coming so fast, no human can hope to stop it."

"What is it?"

"The battle for the souls of men, Mari.  What do you think all this," the Forest Wife spun in a circle with her arms outstretched, "this is about?"

She hadn't considered the souls of men.

"You have specific responsibility looming over you and you need to hurry, for all our sakes."

Mari did not like the idea of a deadline when she didn't know what was at stake.  "You know everything, so why not tell me?"  She did not want to read a foot-thick book.

The Forest Wife didn't answer, but opened the cover of the dusty tome.  "This record was written by your grandmother."

She had no memory of the woman who had passed away before she was born.

"Not that grandmother, but Marisena, wife of Jaydren; and before you can ask, yes THE Jaydren, ruler of Utak and, coincidentally, your direct-line grandfather.  If I were you, I'd memorize it."

"Why don't you just tell me what I have to know?"

"There are no shortcuts to what you need to know."

She fingered the first page, looking at the small writing, noting Jaydren's wife had pretty penmanship, but also sighing.  Then a new thought burst onto the stage of her mind, looking like a frightened doe.  "If I have something really important and you're my teacher, it figure you have something important to do as well."

The woman looked as if debating the wisest course of action.  "I am mother of the Chosen."

Mari's quick mind ran over what she remembered of the person called "the Chosen" in the Book of Benamii. She put a commiserating hand on the Forest Wife's embroidered sleeve.  Her child was destined for heartache - a life of great danger and challenges.  "If anyone can do it, you can."

"That's exactly how I feel about your role."

Mari's heart sank.  If her role was as serious as her teacher's she was in big trouble.  With resignation, she began to read.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Revaya's Ring

 This ring doesn't appear until Winds of Change (book 4 of the prequels)

In the story, the three rows of 'gems' you see consist of Rubies, Emeralds, and Diamonds.

It was a gift made by Lord Jaydren and Lady Maris

Now for the story behind the ring itself.

This ring was among other pieces of costume jewelry I received from my mother at her death.  I wondered why mom had such a ring and on what occasion she would have worn it.

The ring isn't my style, nor, in my opinion, was it my mothers.  However, I knew that things always happen for reasons and I ended up with the ring.

I confess that I would never wear this ring unless it did what I had  Revaya's ring do.  If you want to know what it does, you'll have to wait for "Winds of Change" which will be released next year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Cover Artist: Mates Laurentiu Said In Stone - Book #16

-Jaydren the Just -

The more I look at this cover, the more I like it.  My husband and I spent an hour just looking at it the night it was finished and we had received the final product.  There are many details on this cover that might be lost to the casual observer - you might think, oh, its a man with anger-management issues sitting on a really expensive throne in a castle.   Wrong.  So wrong.

Artist:  Mates Laurentiu from Romania.  http://mateslaurentiu.deviantart.com/

This cover has had several incarnations and I will be dedicating a post to show how it came about and put the link in, but I really wanted to share this because COS fans who've tried to imagine him, will want to see him.

If you've read the first two prequels (Five: The Power Rising and Fathoms Deep), you will know that Jaydren is the most handsome of the three male Macshara that make it to the new land.  Usually, he is not so foreboding.  Even MY first impression when I looked at the finished product was this is not a man you mess with.  I had to firmly remind myself that this is how you would look if you had to judge the dregs of society millennia after millennia.  It would have been ridiculous to have him smiling and looking really happy as he dispenses justice in Utak.  This particular look would be when someone has lied to him.

The bricks?  When you read the book, you'll know what is happening here.

To purchase:  https://www.amazon.com/Said-Stone-Fantasy-Adventure-Sorcery-ebook/dp/B00J9PUAIE

Go here to see the COS gallery of art: http://chest-of-souls.deviantart.com/gallery/

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tales from the Chest: Iskar goes swimming...ooops

Trying something new:  Posting stuff that didn't make 'final' cuts in Chest of Souls.

Set up:  This is what Iskar was up to after Talon left Utak.  I didn't put it in the book, because it was such a short piece and it pulled the story too far from where I was going.  In hindsight, I probably could have put it in, if only to show Soline's unforgiving nature.

Iskar Goes Swimming....

At long last, after suffering fields of blisters that felt the size of Mt. Benamii, Iskar felt liberated. 
Because of his invention, the Burang, which was used to kill the flame-throwing Ybarra herds, he was something of a hero in the city of Lander.  Life had never been sweeter.

He no longer needed someone to introduce him to the Utakian girls.  They all knew his name.  Several came to him with hero-worship in their eyes and told him tales of the difference he had made in the lives of their families.  Their compliments were ambrosia and he was in an almost constant state of euphoria.

Respect was something he had earned in Utak and it was hard won.  Without Talon present, the tanners and skinners listened to him as they planned how to eradicate the Ybarra herds.  Best of all, he didn't have to share the glory.  Rube was in Rykett and Talon, well, Talon was somewhere with General Monus.  Being with Talon wasn't safe and it wasn't fun. 

He could be himself!   All he had to do to remain safe was stay out of the water.  It made him nervous to see water in any greater amounts than a glass.  He stared out at the ocean from a safe distance.

With the half-moon casting her reflection onto the surf, it appeared haunted.  Iskar didn't think it was, he knew it was.  The entire ocean was the playground of the Keeper of the Waves and he was on her list of people to kill; likely first on the list.  She thought of him as a betrayer and he didn't know why.

After she attacked Talon, he'd thrown a burang at her, which she caught and threw back at him, slicing Iskar's arm open.  Later, he had gone to the water to wash away the blood and her voice had come to his mind, "You will never be safe in the water, Betrayer.  Every Raykah in the world knows the taste of your blood.  It will sing to them and they will come."

When he first heard about the enormous kite-shaped fish that inhabited the Ammon Islands, he'd wanted to ride one like Talon had.  It sounded adventurous.  The blue-haired Sea Witch had changed those plans.  Since then, he made it a point to stay well away from the edge of the water, even if it meant the other young men poked fun at him.  None of them had been threatened by a living legend as he had.

He settled his blankets on the sandy rise above the beach, listening to his co-workers and sometimes-friends tease each other.  They were splashing in the water after a hot afternoon working with the tanners and skinners. 

"Hey, Iskar! Come join us!" the self-proclaimed 'leader' of the group ordered.  It was just that - an order.  He knew the tone.  He also knew that none of them would have made a fuss about Iskar staying dry if Talon had been there. 
"Afraid of the water?" taunted one.
"Can't you swim?" asked another.
Irritated, he hollered back, "Yes, you dung-eating Pursha, but I don't want to!"  Not ever.
"That's what we thought," came a voice behind him.

Four sets of arms grabbed, lifted, and carried him down to the sea.  When he realized what they were going to do, he began to fight as he'd never fought anyone before.  Panic raced through his system.
"Let me go!" he demanded, twisting, jerking, kicking, pulling anything and everything he could reach.  "LET ME GO!"
"No chance," the leader scoffed.  "That foot in my face just cost you a dunking."
"The Keeper will come!" he promised, trying to claw free.  These boys were all farm workers and strong as oxen. 
"I didn't know you listened to fairy tales!"
"She's going to kill me!" he warned them, twisting like a wild animal. They kept a firm grip on him. 
"There's no such thing!" sneered the one he'd kicked in the face.
"DON'T DO THIS!"  he begged, terrified to the very center of his soul.  He ripped one of his arms out of their grasp, loosening their hold, feeling his skin tearing away in the effort he was making to gain his freedom - his life.  Two more came to help their companions.
"Ready to get wet?" he was asked as they carried him out into the surf.
"NOOOOOO!" he screamed as they flung him out into the deeper water. Part of his mind told him he was a dead man.  He was bleeding and the carnivorous Raykah knew the taste of his blood. 
They would come. 
The Keeper had promised him they would.

Water surrounded him and he knew he only had moments to break free of the tide.  Raykah were fast swimmers and their mistress was faster.  His head popped out of the water and he took a breath of air.  With every ounce of strength he had, he plowed through the water, heedless of the current, his threatening-to-burst-lungs, and the stitch in his side.  Fear fed his speed and he was sure he'd never swam faster in his life .  His heart roared in his ears. 

He wanted to sob when he reached the shore, but knew he didn't dare stop. 

His 'friends' had deserted him.  The last one was racing up the small pathway, looking as terrified as he felt.  Now that he was on shore, he dared glance back.  Fifty feet from shore were large wakes and behind them, Soline herself!  She raised her arms and threw her hands forward.  A large wave rose and he knew that if he didn't find something to hang on to, he would be dragged to the sea and eaten or worse:  Soline would handle things herself.

He had always hated the Hydra tree when he was out in the fields.  It started as a small choking vine.  It's roots, Rube had once joked, went to the center of the world.  You had to pull every speck of it up or it would grow back - with two vines, getting thicker each time if you didn't eradicate it.  Finally, if left alone, it became a tree you had to plow around.

It looked like heaven.  He jumped, grabbed the lowest limb, and swung himself up just as the wave Soline had created hit.  He was under water and hanging on for all he was worth.  The water seemed to get deeper for a moment.  He worried it was deep enough for a Raykah to reach him.  Thank All, the water receded and he was finally able to get a breath.

He looked the direction of the water and saw she wasn't finished.  He slipped to the other side of the Hydra and climbed higher, keeping the Sea Witch in his sight.  She pushed her hands forward and the next wave was higher. 

A small yellow Raykah rode the crest of it.  She had to know it wouldn't make it back, so it was a sacrifice she was willing to make - to kill him. 

The rubbery-looking fish would have one chance and he wasn't going to stand aside and let it take a chunk out of his hide!  He remembered Talon telling him Raykah had two pair of eyes, one on top and the second underneath the first set.  He pulled his burang out and when it got close enough, he shook it open and, with every muscle he had, brought it down on the creature at an angle, slicing through the front part of its head.  It stopped moving.  He had killed it!  He triumphantly looked out at the water.  The wakes had disappeared, and Soline was no longer riding a water spout, she was hovering in the shallows!

He was a dead man.

In a clear voice, she said, "You will die a thousand deaths in the time you have remaining on this land for the crimes you've committed and those you will commit.  Remember, when your time comes, that I offered you a way to die with honor, Betrayer.  Justice will be served, sooner than you think."



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Newest Cover: Fathom's Deep by Daekazu

Wow.  That was the first word that popped into my mind when I saw the final edit of the cover.

This makes book number 15 for me and the fourth book which I've commissioned Daekazu to do.  He loves water pictures and it shows.

The woman is Soline, Keeper of the Waves, Sea Goddess, Sea Witch, Siren of the Sea...former Water-Mac from the Fortress in Brissa.  In this book, the second of the prequels, I take the characters and dig a bit deeper.  Soline, I found, was Fathoms deep - hence the name.

Last time she was on a cover was book two:  Lend Me Your Mind.  

"It can't be," you say, "Her hair was blue!"

I answer, "You're right!  Except, this picture is underwater."

She IS all that and a bag of surprises too!

The octopus that rides her shoulder is Garb. Those of you who are familiar with the first nine books of Chest of Souls, will remember Garb from the book called Traps.  

The fish in the background that look like manta rays are actually called Raykah - or Kah, for short.  Soline created them, but Ammon does a bit more...like, well, read the book when it comes out.

EBOOK ($3.99) on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fathoms-Prequel-Chest-Souls-ebook/dp/B00EXRAIBC/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_tnr_1

HARD COPY ($16.00) on Lulu:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/michelle-erickson/fathoms-deep/paperback/product-21185714.html

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sweet Success!!!

So, here's how the promo on Amazon went for me:  SWEET SUCCESS:)

Several thousand people in 9 different countries downloaded Chest of Souls Book One 
and Pic Jump during the Free Amazon Kindle promo.  Wahoo!

Amidst stiff competition, Chest of Souls Book One rose to #8 in the Epic Fantasy charts, 
and #9 in Family Saga-Fiction.   Pic Jump reached #14 in the Romance/Inspirational category,
 #15 in Suspense, and #15 in Thrillers!

Soon to be released:  Five:  The Power Rising   

I know I've said it before, and if I had my artistic eye screwed in right, I would not have made the mistake I
did and the book would have been released earlier.  The fault lies with me, not the artist.

Daekazu didn't fail me - he did what I asked. However, when I saw the cover, which was what I asked for,
the feeling I had anticipated missed the target.  I want my covers to evoke emotion.  I want to keep pulling
the site up just to keep looking at them.  Yes, as a matter of fact, I continue to do that with my first two covers.

You will see the first cover because I'm going to use it for the back cover. In fact, I'm going to paste the blurb
over the top of it to cover MY faulty idea.  

Here is the blurb:

In the tatted lace of legend, there were Five Creators:
The Tree:  Ammon of Rozan-Steading
The Pillar:  Jaydren of Stones Fist
The Keeper:  Soline the Water-witch
The Weaver:  Revaya the would-be Queen
The Blaze:  Vael, the Betrayer

Ammon of Rozan-Steading exists to bring change. 
While serving as a Guard at the Fortress, he met the other four Creators and freed them.

Jaydren of Stones Fist was forced to kill his family.
His father’s last words were “Close your eyes son,” 
just before he’s forced to bury his parents and sister under a mountain he created. 
He has plans to escape, but can’t do it alone.

Soline doesn't remember where she came from.
When she was three, her world was colored by pain that never ended.  
Her goal: return to the sea, no matter the cost.

Revaya was told she would be Queen someday, 
but only after a journey she’d never take by herself.

Vael was carried to the Fortress by harpies, monstrous winged creatures 
that abduct those with ‘talent’ and take them to the Fortress.  
He plans to burn whatever stands in his way.

These Five are already legends.
Inside them, their power is rising.